Last week, I wound up splitting my two entries on the Seahawks and Texans, but because no one lost it really didn't matter. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com
** average of the two moneylines
The Steelers are such a massively popular pick, you'll want to fade them if you have the 49ers, Patriots or Ravens left. Pittsburgh would be my fourth choice, followed closely by the Dolphins and Seahawks.
You can do the math quickly by realizing that if the Steelers were to lose, 45 percent of your pool would remain. That means your equity would go from 10 units to 22.22. Because the Steelers have a 12.5 percent chance of losing, anyone with less than a 27.75 percent (2.22 * 12.5) chance of losing offers better odds.
The Dolphins and Seahawks narrowly miss the cut, and if you disagree with the numbers even slightly, you can take either of them ahead of the Steelers, too.
1. San Francisco 49ers - The Niners beat up on bad teams, especially at home, and it's hard to see how the Rams offense would hold up. The one issue is St. Louis being up for this division-rivalry game and playing excellent defense on the road. But even Seattle - a better defense and better rounded team - couldn't get it done in SF. I give the 49ers an 86 percent chance to win this game.
2. New England Patriots - They blew out the Bills in Buffalo, and now they get to face them at home. It's hard to see Buffalo's defense slowing down Tom Brady, and so it would take a massive showing by an inconsistent Bills offense to keep up. I give the Patriots an 85 percent chance to win this game.
3. Baltimore Ravens - Much was made of their injuries on defense, but getting Terrell Suggs back is as big as both of them combined. Plus, Baltimore's offense is more consistent than Oakland's, and the Raiders are lacking their most explosive player in Darren McFadden. I give the Ravens a 76 percent chance to win this game.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers - After a slow start, the Steelers have turned the corner, particularly on defense where they're No. 1 against the pass. The Chiefs looked better defensively last week before a couple defensive touchdowns sunk them, but they're likely to be overmatched on the road. I give the Steelers an 87 percent chance to win this game.
5. Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins lost in Indy last week, but until then they had been fairly stout defensively, and moved the ball adequately on offense. The Titans have shown signs offensively, but their defense is among the worst in the league. I give the Dolphins a 72 percent chance to win this game.
6. Seattle Seahawks - Seattle's tough at home, and the Jets haven't fared well against good defensive teams, being blown out by Miami and the 49ers. Of course, the Seahawks could have a tough time with the Jets defense as well. I give the Seahawks a 71 percent chance to win this game.